These cookies develop an attractive shiny, cracked top surface as they bake. Be sure to allow them to cool before moving them off the baking sheet, as they're very delicate while hot. Step-by-step photos illustrating how to make these cookies are available at Bakers’ Banter, our King Arthur blog.
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate*
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1 cup (7 1/4 ounces) sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips, optional
*You may use regular chocolate chips (1 1/3 cups = 8 ounces), but we prefer the flavor of bittersweet chips, or any of our bittersweet chocolates. If you're using bar chocolate (as opposed to chips), chop it into irregular 1/2 to 3/4-inch chunks.

In a double boiler, or in the microwave, gently melt together the chocolate and butter. To avoid heating the chocolate too much and possibly burning it, the best method is to heat till the butter is melted and the chocolate has partially melted, then remove from the heat. Stir till all the chocolate melts.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs till they're thoroughly combined. Add the hot melted chocolate, then stir in the remaining ingredients, including the chocolate chips, if you're using them. Refrigerate the batter-like dough for 1 hour, to make it easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, three if you have them.

Drop the cookie dough by tablespoonfuls (about the size of a small ping pong ball) onto the prepared baking sheets. A tablespoon cookie scoop makes this task extremely simple. Leave about 2" between the dough balls, as they'll spread as they bake.

Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until their tops are shiny and cracked. They won't crack until the very end, so keep a close eye on them; when they're cracked all the way across the top surface, they're just about done. The point is, you want these baked all the way through, but just barely; additional baking will make them crisp rather than chewy. Remove the cookies from the oven, and top each with a kiss-shaped chocolate, a nonpareil, or a bittersweet chocolate wafer, if desired. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to cool.

Yield: about 26 cookies without chips, 30 cookies with chips.

Bakers' tip: Want to make smaller cookies? Drop the dough in 1" balls onto the baking sheets (a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2" between them. Bake for 11 minutes. Yield: about 55 cookies.